More than 75 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students joined the Alpha Xi Delta-Theta Zeta Chapter in the Sunday, Oct. 27 Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Arizona. The Prescott Greek community raised $3,100 during the Tempe event to help improve lives of individuals with the spectrum disorder and their families.
“Our biggest goal on campus to is to promote more awareness,” said the sorority’s philanthropic chair, Ariel Neville, a mechanical engineering student who plans to work in the nuclear energy industry. “A lot of kids in college don’t know anything about autism. Their participation gives them the opportunity to meet young adults with autism and see the challenges they face.”
Neville has worked with children with disabilities and has a sister with Down syndrome. “Every person is special. You can’t judge a person by their disability,” she said.
Autism is a mental condition that is characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people, and in using language and abstract concepts. It is reported to be the fastest growing developmental disorder, affecting one in 88 children born today; in Arizona, one in 64 children are affected.
Handing out sunscreen, cheering participants along the way and leading walkers in the official pace car were the Guys in Blue from the Valley Honda Dealers. The Guys in Blue have been demonstrating acts of kindness in communities all across the state as part of the Helpful Honda campaign.
The walk, sponsored by Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism and science advocacy organization, and the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), was expected to draw more than 20,000 walkers and raise more than $1 million.
Neville says the Embry-Riddle walk team members, pictured here, are “throwing what they know,” which is the Alpha Xi Delta hand sign. QCBN
Photo courtesy Alpha Xi Delta-Theta Zeta Chapter.